COVID-19 cases jump to 552, 2 more deaths recorded

    COVID-19 information from the John Hopkins Global Coronavirus map.

    NINETY new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reported Tuesday, bringing the total cases in the Philippines to 552.

    Based on the latest COVID-19 Case Bulletin released by the Department of Health, the Philippines now also has two additional deaths, or a total of 35.

    The number of recovered patients was up by two, with the total now at 20.

    The first new death is Patient 215, 71-year-old Filipino male from Quezon City with no travel and exposure history. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 18, and expired on March 24 from severe pneumonia (COVID 19), hypertensive cardiovascular disease, cardiac dysrhythmia with comorbidities hypertension, and diabetes.

    The second is Patient 239, 76, Filipino male from Cavite with no travel and exposure history. He expired on March 14 due to heart failure, community-acquired pneumonia high risk, ST-elevation myocardial infarction, acute respiratory failure, COVID-19 with comorbidity diabetes. He was confirmed positive for COVID-19 only on March 20.

    The first new recovery is Patient 130, who is a 21-year-old Filipino female from Davao de Oro with travel history to the United Kingdom and Qatar. She was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 15, and was discharged on March 23.

    He second new recovery is Patient 87, who is a 76-year old Filipino female from Quezon City with exposure history to known COVID-19 cases. She was confirmed positive on March 14, and was discharged on March 22.

    Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a briefing, said they are now only requiring a COVID-19 patient to test negative of the virus once for them to be discharged.

    This is unlike in the previous DOH protocol, wherein they need to be tested negative of COVID-19 twice before they are discharged from the hospitals.

    “If the COVID-19 patient tests negative already, has no more symptoms, and his other tests are already normal, like CBC, chest xray, they can already be discharged,” she said.

    However, the health official said they still need to undergo a 14-day home quarantine after their discharge.

    “The repeat test shall be done after the conclusion of the 14-day home quarantine,” said Vergeire.


    Another medical frontliner succumbed to COVID-19.

    Dr. Raul Jara, former president of the Philippine Heart Association, passed away on Tuesday.

    “It is with profound sadness that we announce the loss of one of the great pillars of cardiology, PHA past president Dr. Raul Diaz Jara,” said the PHA in a statement. “Philippine cardiology will not be the same without him.”

    Dr. Joel Abanilla, executive director of the Philippine Heart Center, said Jara was confirmed to have COVID-19.

    “He died of multiple complications, cardiac, renal. But he tested positive for COVID-19,” Abanilla said in a radio interview.

    Abanilla, though, said they are not yet aware when was Jara exposed to the virus.

    Jara is just the latest of medical professionals that have succumbed to COVID-19.

    Earlier, Dr Israel Bactol, a cardiologist at the Philippine Heart Center; Dr Greg Macasaet, an anesthesiologist at the Manila Doctors Hospital; and Dr Rose Pulido, a medical oncologist at the San Juan De Dios Hospital all passed away due to the novel virus.


    A star-ranked military officer and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus at the AFP’s general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

    AFP chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr said he went on self-quarantine at home after getting in contact with the official, who he only described as “senior military officer,” during a conference.

    Asked when he got in contact with the officer, Santos said: “In one of the conferences but there was no touching because of the virus. That is the protocol in GHQ (general headquarters).” He did not say when the conference took place.

    “Said military officer has a history of foreign travel and was admitted to the medical facility and his spouse as persons under investigation or PUIs last March 15. They have been undergoing proper medical management with the military officer now being asymptomatic,” said Santos.

    A senior military official said the official found positive for COVID-19 has a rank of commodore (brigadier general in the Army and Air Force) and is assigned in Camp Aguinaldo. The name of the officer was withheld, in keeping with medical protocol.

    “They are already recovering,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said the result of the COVID-19 test for the couple came out on Sunday.

    Santos also said the AFP has put up “measures and specific guidelines to protect all of its personnel particularly those stationed and working in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.”

    Santos said a treatment facility was established in the camp for personnel manifesting symptoms. Also, house to house reminders are also being done to encourage soldiers to practice personal hygiene and other related actions to prevent the spread of the virus.

    Meanwhile, a policeman from the Manila Police District was also tested positive for COVID-19.

    Police said the patient, a patrolman, was initially classified as person under investigation on March 17.

    “On March 23, 2020 RITM released the result and found positive for COVID 19,” a police statement said.

    The PNP said officials are now identifying the policemen who got in contact with the patient and will be advised to go on home quarantine. — With Victor Reyes


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